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Me being a retro grouch

Old 04-19-10, 04:02 PM
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svt4cam
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Me being a retro grouch

Our local bike shop sponsors group rides throughout the week and I usually go out with the "A" ride on Sunday mornings for 40 miles give or take. Lots of expensive carbon fiber unobtanium, which incidently my Masi beat to the sprint sign Sunday. In the past 6 months our group of about 15 has had one crashed and cracked Pinarello CF bike (repairable) and 3 CF high line bikes from 2 famous manufacturers I'd rather not mention develop cracks (not crashed) but warrantied. I spent alot of time around open wheel auto racing when CF was in it's infancy and the teams always dumpstered high stress parts after a certain amount of wear cycles. I'm not a statistician but that seems like a huge failure rate for a very small group of bikes. Kinda wondering what the next generation of vintage bike fanatics is going to be collecting?
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Old 04-19-10, 04:26 PM
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The same bikes we're collecting. THey'll just be super rare and super expensive. Case in point (from the automotive world) - Original, unhacked Model T's, tri-5 Chevies, Ford Coupes, etc
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Old 04-19-10, 04:37 PM
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Take note that the newest airliners being produced are now constructed mostly of CF/and other composite matrix materials. Will they be counting flight cycles on those to knw when they can retire them? Hmmmm....I wonder if CF/pre-preg resins are recyclable?

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Old 04-19-10, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi View Post
Take note that the newest airliners being produced are now constructed mostly of CF/and other composite matrix materials. Will they be counting flight cycles on those to knw when they can retire them? Hmmmm....I wonder if CF/pre-preg resins are recyclable?

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They already do this for metal fatigue - read about the first jet airliner, the de Havilland Comet. Right off the bat, they started dropping mysteriously out of the sky. After some investigation, the cause was deemed to be the square windows, the corners of which caused stress concentrations.

Any large scale, high dollar engineering organization keeps track of stress cycles on critical components and tests regularly and no doubt the aviation industry, unlike recreational cyclists, has some program for their CF componentry. That is not to say that there may be problems or that any safety program is perfect.

FWIW, I got my experience in this sort of thing in the U.S. submarine fleet, where we had similar concerns about various bits and pieces. If you go and look at a submarine nuclear reactor, virtually everything is high polish, mirror like. Looks sharp as all get out, but the point is to remove even the smallest surface imperfection that can be the initiator of stress concentration.
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Old 04-19-10, 07:13 PM
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Ever see this? https://www.bustedcarbon.com/
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Old 04-19-10, 08:30 PM
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note that they haven't had a post at busted carbon since march
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Old 04-19-10, 09:16 PM
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meh...everything that man makes breaks eventually. I've been riding an Ibis mountain bike for a couple of years made of carbon fiber...it sees a lot more stress than a road bike and doesn't show any cracks yet.

If it explodes under me, I'll post the story to BF before I die.
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Old 04-19-10, 09:29 PM
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I've been riding my CF Orbea Onix (Permian Age) Plastic bike for over 500 miles, no problems. Bought the bike on CL, complete with Shimano Ultegra, and like it. Still can't beat the feel and agility of my Gios and Cinelli. But, I always check for stress cracks, unlike steel, that is a must! I prefer steel, because it is real!

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Old 04-20-10, 04:58 AM
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Carbon Fibre? Is that sort of like Dupont's Delrin plastic, used in Simplex derailleurs? You know, the derailleurs with a catastrophic failure rate due to cracked bodies. I watch the bicycle of today roll by on plastic products. And I wonder what some guy my age, and forty years from today, will say about today's fancy bikes?

Mind you, I would like very much to spend a season riding one, just to see.
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Old 04-20-10, 05:17 AM
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Near here, there is a college town where I used to live. The running/riding environment is traditionally competitive, almost to the point where it's not much fun for anyone else, at 5K's, group rides, etc. There's always a group of cowboys on group rides who have to turn it into a race... which leads directly to the "gotta have" culture of CF, and the latest, greatest, etc. LBS loves it.

The group rides almost always involve a pace line or two, TdF wannabees riding aero on their plastic fantastic Fisher-Price flyers. Several times a year, this results in great crashes, always with a good amount of road rash, sometimes broken bones, and trashed $3000 CF bikes. When you line up for a group ride, however, and look for the grey haired folks, you'll see steel under them. They've been in their share of the mishaps, but take their bikes to LBS, get 'em fixed and are back on the road in a day or two.

I like my CF bike, a lot, and it's over 10 years old, but day in/day out, I find my steel bikes no harder to ride, workouts are just as fast, and simply are more interesting. On group rides, if I'm up for the pace line, it's never on the CF bike. Conversation before/after group rides, when it centers on bikes, generally is in two categories: the "newer, better, faster" folks discussing their latest attempt to buy speed, and the rest of us, ogling whatever great new old steel bike just showed up.

When we discuss other riders, it's hardly ever "the guy on the P3," but it's often "the guy on that Miyata, or Cinelli," etc. that comes out. Seems we never tag a rider by his/her bike unless it's a cool steel bike.

And LBS, while loving the upgrade market generated by the graphite Geronimos, really comes alive when you wheel a nice lugged steel bike in. The older wrenches like to work on them, and someone nearly always says "I remember when I had a.. (steel bike)..."

I don't know, it's a different approach, different culture, like a '68 Camaro in all it's glory vs. a tricked-out 350Z. Just different.
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Old 04-20-10, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
I don't know, it's a different approach, different culture, like a '68 Camaro in all it's glory vs. a tricked-out 350Z. Just different.
Eloquently stated. There are pluses and minuses to any given material (except maybe Ti - I have yet to find fault with it and it seems to find acceptance even amongst the grouchiest of retro grouches). Anyone can dis anything and find enough examples to support that dis. In doing so, they can convince themselves and others of a general truth. There are however some outstanding builders of CF (Calfee, Landshark, Parlee, to name a few) just as there are and always have been some crappy steel bikes. I've been riding a Kestrel since the late 90s, often under stressful conditions and I too have a newer Ibis mountain bike that's often under extreme conditions and find the rumours of carbon's demise to be greatly exaggerated. I can't say I prefer one to another; as you say, just different.
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Old 04-20-10, 12:09 PM
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Part of me would love to have a 14 lb CF bike just to see how it feels. As it is, I'm enjoying my old metal.

As for aircraft, I don't know what the bike industry does for product testing, but there are many tests required of any passenger aircraft prior to certification, to validate things like fatigue life as well as catastrophic failure limits. It's been a long, slow, cautious road for CF in airplanes, and due to the critical nature of it all, there is some pretty fancy equipment out there (beyond a technician with a good ear and a rubber mallet) for detecting hidden damage. I'm not really worried about the use of CF in an airplane, but more about the overall design and whether there's a design flaw somewhere, or perhaps a botched repair where somebody took a shortcut.
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Old 04-20-10, 03:19 PM
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Are CF wonderbikes, (CFWs), really that much lighter?

Yes, if you pay crazy prices for TdF types, but NO generally.

I sometimes ride my light steel frame bike on my local hammerfest, and have no trouble keeping up with the gaggle of Italian, Spanish, French and US CFWs.

In fact, after one ride back at the coffee shop I had to lift a friend's Pinnarelo Onda out of the way and was very surprised at how UNLIGHT it was!!

Last edited by stevegor; 04-20-10 at 03:19 PM. Reason: correction
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Old 04-20-10, 03:45 PM
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I watched the TV Program "Dhani Tackles the Globe" last night and he did the Gran Fondo del Monte Grappa in Italy along side Olympian Cristiano Citton....Dhani on a Tricked out CF Battaglin, Citton was on a newer Bianchi of some sort....and out of nowhere Marcel Tinazzi rides up on a sweet old Steel machine; vintage Wool Jersey, non-aero brake levers, double crankset and is just scooting along up the mountain like its nothing.
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Old 04-20-10, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by stevegor View Post
Are CF wonderbikes, (CFWs), really that much lighter?

Yes, if you pay crazy prices for TdF types, but NO generally.

I sometimes ride my light steel frame bike on my local hammerfest, and have no trouble keeping up with the gaggle of Italian, Spanish, French and US CFWs.

In fact, after one ride back at the coffee shop I had to lift a friend's Pinnarelo Onda out of the way and was very surprised at how UNLIGHT it was!!
One more coment on CF and then it's back to the regularly scheduled C&V: Carbon is not all about lightness and as mentioned, in the real world, you probably won't feel the difference in weight between a 17 lb. carbon bike and a 20 lb. steel bike. The big difference for me is in power transfer. When I put the hammer down on the Kestrel, it responds like a rocket. As such, it makes pretty quick work of hills (and sprints when needed). Even my stiffest steel frame (probably the Tesch) takes noticeably greater effort. Descents are a different kettle of fish, but like I said, pluses and minuses.
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Old 04-20-10, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Zaphod Beeblebrox View Post
...and out of nowhere Marcel Tinazzi rides up on a sweet old Steel machine; vintage Wool Jersey, non-aero brake levers, double crankset and is just scooting along up the mountain like its nothing.
Tinazzi won my local ronde d'aix 3 times 79, 82,83 and there are many Tinazzi frames in the area.

Back on subject, I find my vitus 979 so much lighter uphill than my steel bikes I'd love to try carbon but I don't trust carbon and the older the carbon get's the less I'l trust it.
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Old 04-20-10, 04:50 PM
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It may have been a frame of his own Marque, The headbadge was clearly visible during the show but I didn't recognize it....it looked a lot like an olive branch crest
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Old 04-20-10, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by dudeona3V View Post
One more coment on CF and then it's back to the regularly scheduled C&V: Carbon is not all about lightness and as mentioned, in the real world, you probably won't feel the difference in weight between a 17 lb. carbon bike and a 20 lb. steel bike. The big difference for me is in power transfer. When I put the hammer down on the Kestrel, it responds like a rocket. As such, it makes pretty quick work of hills (and sprints when needed). Even my stiffest steel frame (probably the Tesch) takes noticeably greater effort. Descents are a different kettle of fish, but like I said, pluses and minuses.
Sorry to prolong this, but......

I agree with your comments, however, my modern wonderbike just sits there and does the job on a hard climb.. faster, but fairly bland really. My older steel frame bike, even though it's a bit heavier "talks" to me and is a pleasure to ride.

Am I "NUTS" that my bike talks to me and I respond gently and lovingly with an affectionate pat on it's top tube?
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Old 04-20-10, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by stevegor View Post

Am I "NUTS" that my bike talks to me and I respond gently and lovingly with an affectionate pat on it's top tube?
Nope, I do it too, usually with a little polish on a rag.,,,,BD
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Old 04-20-10, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by stevegor View Post
Sorry to prolong this, but......

I agree with your comments, however, my modern wonderbike just sits there and does the job on a hard climb.. faster, but fairly bland really. My older steel frame bike, even though it's a bit heavier "talks" to me and is a pleasure to ride.

Am I "NUTS" that my bike talks to me and I respond gently and lovingly with an affectionate pat on it's top tube?
That was heartwarming.
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Old 04-21-10, 11:46 AM
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Reliability is one thing. Failure mode is another. I think we should be informed of how likely a CF failure is and, more importantly, HOW they fail.

Once we know, I think we'll go on buying them, and it's fine. But we should be making informed choices.

I understand that boats and planes still use old electro-mechanical ignition systems. They wear out rather than suddenly failing. Overall, they are less reliable, but a sudden failure is unacceptable out on the water or in the air. It's acceptable for a car.

Is a total splintering of a frame tolerable? I don't know. I suppose it depends somewhat on the likelihood of it happening for a given rider.
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Old 04-21-10, 12:28 PM
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Yeah, the thing that worries me about carbon is not the failure rate, but the ways in which it fails. An imperceptible defect (or at least one gone unnoticed) can all of a sudden turn into an exploding bike when it hits the wrong pothole. Even if it never ever happens, it'd be on my mind the entire time I'm riding, especially as the age of the carbon I'm riding increases. I worry enough about the fact that I could get a flat at any time!

Steel involves more of a dialogue between rider and bike--it reminds me of vintage car guys that can listen to an engine recording and tell you not only the make and model of the car, but also that the air filter needs replacing. You'll be riding and notice a creak with every pedal revolution or maybe the bike isn't handling quite the way it should. You can pull over and check for problems and usually ride your bike home--carefully if need be. By the time you notice poor handling on your carbon bike, it's probably already exploding. The dents and dings that so devalue a steel frame, mostly for aesthetic reasons, would be death sentences for carbon.

That said, RobbieTunes put it best. Just different cultures. There are plenty of makers still making steel bikes--plenty even that still use lugs. Fixies get a lot of flak here, but that culture has been responsible for a huge amount of interest in steel bikes--go to the SSFG forum and count the carbon bikes (I don't think you'll find one).
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Old 04-21-10, 12:30 PM
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Give me a well-fitting, nice steel frame, a carbon fork with an alloy steerer tube, modern drivetrain with STIs, a fast wheelset, and everything tuned up nicely, and I will be extremely happy*. Best of all possible worlds IMVHO.

CF has its place on the latest superbikes designed for TTing and triathlon, with their aero tubes and freaky designs.
Not really necessary on a ´normal´bike.

*i.e. the bike I ride every day to and from work...
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Old 04-21-10, 08:06 PM
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I went for another ride this morning on my recently purchased steel bike, 27" wheels, 42/53, nice lugs etc.......

Sun was shining, I felt good and I've fallen in love with the 42t....and the bike, it's like it was made for me. Don't know how many owners its had, but it "FEELS" right. I'm all in a dither about what colour to paint with the rebuild, should I use STI and 700C?.....
I think I may be becoming obsessive here, guys can you help me out?
What's the cure?
And how do I stop my "other" steel frame bike from getting jealous?

The modern bike just sits there, lifeless, it has no soul......waiting for race day.
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Old 04-22-10, 12:06 AM
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I think carbon will get better as age goes on. When I was a kid all my friends and I were really into MTB and everyone was scared to ride aluminum bikes because they were known to not be very strong, especially if you are a heavier fellow. Now aluminum bikes are a lot stronger. I would assume carbon can only get better.. but I've read that busted carbon site a few times and itscares the **** out of me. That being said I am building up a bike with mostly carbon parts to see what the hype is about!
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